The Mustard Seed
A Case For Sexual Purity
Part 4 -- My Story
I graduated from college very single. I had several female friends, a few of whom I could envision as my life partner in marriage. But God had another husband in mind for each of them. After I messed up my head with a couple infatuations, I finally learned to give those "in love" feelings over to God the moment they hit. When I felt an attraction to one of my lady friends welling up, I immediately surrendered her and my desires to God. I asked the Lord to take over and guide. If my feelings were in agreement with His will, then I trusted Him to make that clear to both of us. But if God had someone else in mind for each of us, I prayed that He would also make that clear to me and take away those feelings.
God honored those prayers. Every time I gave Him permission to say "No," He made His "No!" emphatically clear. ...except the last time, when He finally said, "Yes!"
In my long season of singleness I received encouraging counsel from other single Christians, I discovered helpful insights in the Bible, I spent time in the company of happily married Christian couples,* and I read Christian books about family relationships which helped me prepare for the day I would become a husband and father. My responsibility in preparing for marriage was less about finding the right person to marry, but becoming the right person to marry. I also prayed daily for the woman who would eventually become my wife, before I knew who she was.
The primary text of Scripture which gave me direction was First Corinthians chapter seven. Corinth was a large city with a mixture of cultures, values, lifestyles, and religions. Young Christians who were new in their faith felt confused about the right thing to do regarding dating and marriage. They wrote to their mentor, the Apostle Paul, and asked his advice. 1 Corinthians 7 was his answer, and it is still good advice for us today.
Paul's opening sentence seems strange: "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." Huh? We can't even hold hands? Wait. We need to unpack this sentence.
The Greek word that is translated here as "touch" literally means "light a fire." What this verse said to me in my days as a single Christian was that God wants us to be careful in the way we relate with singles of the opposite sex. Don't light the fire of desire that you can't righteously satisfy. Men "touch" women emotionally with their words. Women "touch" men with their physical appearance. (Ladies, for the sake of your brothers in Christ, please dress modestly!) Of course, certain kinds of casual physical touching for both men and women will light an emotional fire. And if marriage is not on the horizon, it is best to keep your hands off each other until you really are ready to marry.
Paul follows this sentence explaining that sex is a good, natural, and necessary part of every marriage.
"A husband should satisfy his wife’s sexual needs. And a wife should satisfy her husband’s sexual needs. The wife’s body does not belong only to her. It also belongs to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong only to him. It also belongs to his wife. You shouldn’t stop giving yourselves to each other." (1 Corinthians 7:3-5 NIRV)
What this said to me as a young single man was that God made my sexual nature, not for my benefit, but for the woman who one day would become my wife. My body belongs to her. The fact that I did not know who she was yet made no difference. I must not give any kind of romantic or sexual attention to any other woman than her.
So how would I find her, and know that she is the right one? Tune in next month.
"My God will meet all your needs. He will meet them in keeping with his wonderful riches that come to you because you belong to Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19 NIRV)
~~Pastor Ron*Hint to married couples: Please invite single friends to dinner and family holiday events.
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You are invited to Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Silver Spring
a couple blocks south of the Metro Red Line Forest Glen Station
Sunday Worship: 9:30AM
in Ely 118.
Drop in and introduce yourself!!
Pastor Ron Friedrich